This week, I attended CALSTART’s U.S.-China Clean Truck and Bus Summit in Beijing. The event brought together representatives from key agencies of both countries with the goal of increasing U.S. exports of clean transportation technology for trucks and buses.
While at the conference, I participated in a panel titled “Spotlight on U.S. Industry Leaders”, along with Shiyi Zhou of Eaton and Ning Lei of Navistar. And, over the course of the three-day event, I made the following observations:
- The Summit was well attended—more than 120 participants from leading U.S. and Chinese clean truck and bus technology providers. There are many conferences on reducing fuel consumption and emissions in cars in China, but this is one of the few focused specifically on trucks. Since trucks consume 66% of Chinese transportation fuel, it is a much needed area of focus.
- There is a growing movement to reduce pollution in Chinese cities. Extremely low levels of emissions—mandated by the current U.S. and European regulations—require expensive and sensitive emissions mitigation equipment on trucks. The aftertreatment systems necessitate low-sulfur diesel fuel. Low-sulfur diesel is available in major Chinese cities now, and so vehicles that meet Euro 4 and Euro 5 emissions standards are available in those cities.
- By the middle of next year, low-sulfur diesel will be available in a larger portion of China, so heavy-duty highway trucks can begin meeting the same low emissions standards.
- Freight transportation is shifting from rail to road—rail carried 70% of the freight in 2000 and only 40% in 2010.
- Like the U.S., China has reserves of natural gas in shale formation so, as in the U.S., there is a growing interest in using natural gas to power vehicles.
With a renewed focus on reducing pollution and meeting more stringent emissions standards, China could definitely benefit from the Achates Power engine. Using our opposed-piston, two-stroke engine—which is currently being designed for a variety of applications—vehicle manufacturers can:
- Meet global emissions requirements
- Increase fuel efficiency by 20% or more when compared to state-of-the-art, conventional, four-stroke clean diesel engines
- Lower manufacturing costs by 10% (due to the engine having fewer parts)